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New vacancies: Two new Post-Doctoral Research Associate positions at SPERI

We are excited to invite applications for two new Post-Doctoral Research Associate positions at SPERI.

SPERI is an excellent place for early career scholars to launch their academic careers; it provides a vibrant and collegial intellectual environment, opportunities for mentorship and collaboration, and unique support for policy and public engagement.

SPERI values diversity in both intellectual and people terms. We are committed to recognising the important intellectual contributions that female, LGBTQ, racial and ethnic minority and international scholars make to the field of political economy. We are keen to attract applications from currently under-represented groups including women and racial and ethnic minorities.

Post-Doctoral Research Associates (2 Positions)

We wish to recruit two exceptional Post-Doctoral Research Associates (PDRAs) to advance an independent research project at SPERI. We are especially interested to attract scholars conducting research that aligns with our research priority areas: contemporary capitalism; labour in global supply chains; finance and financialisation; and corporations.

You will also have the opportunity to work collaboratively with the SPERI Co-Directors and the wider SPERI team, and to become involved in the practical running of the Institute.We will provide tailored support for policy and public engagement and grant applications to fund your research, where needed.

  • The two positions are full time fixed-term posts for 30 months until 30/06/2021 at Grade 7 (£31,302- £39,609 per annum)
  • Closing date for applications: 12 November 2018
  • For informal enquiries about this job, contact: Genevieve LeBaron, SPERI Co-Director on g.lebaron@sheffield.ac.uk
  • Applications are made through the University of Sheffield’s online jobs portal

11 October 2018 by
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Finance fragmented? New SPERI research on EU financial centres post-Brexit published

When the UK leaves the European Single Market, financial firms domiciled in the City of London will lose their ‘passporting rights’. Ahead of the UK’s departure many UK-based banks and other financial institutions are considering whether to relocate parts of their operations to alternative financial centres inside the EU. Frankfurt and Paris are two of the main ‘rivals’ to the City of London.

New research by Dr Scott Lavery (Research Fellow, SPERI and Lecturer in Politics), Dr Davide Schmid (University of Groningen) and Mr Sean McDaniel (University of Warwick) has analysed the strategic positioning of actors within Paris and Frankfurt to understand how they have responded to the Brexit vote.

Their new article ‘Finance fragmented? Frankfurt and Paris as European financial centres after Brexit‘ has been published in the Journal of European Public Policy. An abstract for the article can be found below. The new research features in a new article by Eric Albert in Le Monde.

A SPERI Global Political Economy Brief that explored how actors within Frankfurt have responded since the UK referendum was published in January 2018.

Finance fragmented? Frankfurt and Paris as European financial centres after Brexit – abstract

Brexit creates an opportunity for alternative European financial centres. However, no comprehensive empirical analysis of the strategic positioning of actors within these financial centres has been conducted. In this article we outline findings from an extensive research project which we conducted in Frankfurt and Paris, two of the main ‘rivals’ to the City of London, in the aftermath of Brexit. We outline the core findings from this project and argue that the emerging competition between Frankfurt and Paris is shaped through four related axes: diversity, path dependency, territory and regulatory stability. Our analysis has implications for two bodies of literature within EU studies. First, inter-governmentalist and supra-nationalist approaches would benefit from interrogating more closely the contested sub-national politics of financial centres. Second, our analysis adds to a growing body of literature on European disintegration by interrogating the interaction of fragmentary and integrative dynamics in the sphere of European finance.

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13501763.2018.1534876

22 October 2018 by
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Patrick Kaczmarczyk to host webinar with Heiner Flassbeck | 24th October 2018

SPERI doctoral researcher Patrick Kaczmarczyk will host a webinar with Heiner Flassbeck  – a former Secretary of State in the German Ministry of Finance and UN chief economist – to which the public is invited to attend. The event takes place on Wednesday 24 October at 5 pm and is part of the Young Scholars Initiative’s series on New Developments in Trade.

In light of the emergence of “a global trade war”, which many associate with the trade policies of the Trump Administration, Professor Flassbeck will present his research on the problems of large current account imbalances – and illustrate why most of the comments in the mainstream media are missing the point. He will open up new perspectives of thinking about global imbalances by bringing in implications arising from a dysfunctional monetary system and outline his views on what is needed to make international trade work for all participating countries. Following his 30-45 mins presentation, participants will get the chance to ask questions on this highly contentious and timely topic.

Register to attend the webinar here. For further questions about the webinar contact Patrick Kaczmarczyk at pkaczmarczyk1@sheffield.ac.uk.

Biography

Professor Heiner Flassbeck is editor of Makroskop, an internet magazine that provides macroeconomic analysis. He advises governments, political parties and other institutions in macroeconomic affairs. Prior to that he has served from 2003 to 2012 as Director of the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He was the principal author and the leader of the team preparing UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Report.

Professor Flassbeck was UNCTADs delegate to the G20 Finance Minister meetings. He is the author of numerous books and articles on macroeconomic issues, in particular on the current financial crisis and the crisis in Europe. He teaches macroeconomics at the University of Hamburg.

Prior to joining UNCTAD, Heiner Flassbeck worked as a staff member of the German Council of Economic Experts, Wiesbaden between 1976 and 1980, followed by the Federal Ministry of Economics until January 1986. He was chief economist in the German Institute for Economic Research between 1988 and 1998, and State Secretary (Vice Minister) from October 1998 to April 1999 at the Federal Ministry of Finance responsible for international affairs, the European Union and IMF.

22 October 2018 by
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New vacancy: Post-Doctoral Research Associate

We are excited to invite applications for a new Post-Doctoral Research Associate position at SPERI. The new position is in addition to the two Post-Doctoral Research Associate positions that SPERI is also inviting applications for.

SPERI is an excellent place for early career scholars to launch their academic careers; it provides a vibrant and collegial intellectual environment, opportunities for mentorship and collaboration, and unique support for policy and public engagement.

SPERI values diversity in both intellectual and people terms. We are committed to recognising the important intellectual contributions that female, LGBTQ, racial and ethnic minority and international scholars make to the field of political economy. We are keen to attract applications from currently under-represented groups including women and racial and ethnic minorities.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

We wish to recruit an exceptional Post-Doctoral Research Associate (PDRAs) The new Research Associate will join the core team at SPERI to work on its programme of research on inclusive growth. The new Research Associate will help to develop this work and explore the trans-national and multilateral dimensions of the transition to inclusive growth.

You will also have the opportunity to work collaboratively with the SPERI Co-Directors and the wider SPERI team, and to become involved in the practical running of the Institute.We will provide tailored support for policy and public engagement and grant applications to fund your research, where needed.

19 October 2018 by
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Jennifer Clapp and Eric Helleiner lead seminars at SPERI

This week we were delighted to welcome world-leading academics Professor Jennifer Clapp and Professor Eric Helleiner from the University of Waterloo to SPERI.

Professor Clapp and Professor Helleiner both gave talks at SPERI as part of our new Political Economy Seminar Series, organised jointly with the Political Economy Research Group in the Department of Politics.

Jennifer Clapp is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. She is a world-leading scholar in the fields of food, the environment and International Relations and her research focuses on global governance issues at the intersection of food security, the global economy, and the environment.

Professor Clapp’s seminar on ‘Financialisation and the future of food’ presented new research from Speculative Harvests, her most recent book (co-authored with Ryan Isakson) which investigates the evolving relationship between the agrifood and financial sectors, paying particular attention to how the contemporary process of financialisation is reshaping agrarian development and food systems

Professor Clapp’s visit to Sheffield was organised to mark World Food Day 2018. Whilst in Sheffield she also delivered a public lecture in front of a large audience at the university on the theme of Power, Politics and Justice in the World Food Economy. The lecture was co-organised by the University of Sheffield Sustainable Food Futures (SheFF) group, SPERI and the Department of Politics.


Eric Helleiner is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo. His areas of expertise of International Political Economy, international money and finance, and the history of political economy. He is a member of SPERI’s International Advisory Board.

Professor Helleiner’s seminar on ‘Globalizing the historical roots of IPE’ focused on the ways in which the historical foundations of IPE might be ‘globalized’ to complement and reinforce efforts to strengthen contemporary global conversations in the field. In recent years, leading IPE scholars have been calling for more of a ‘global conversation’ in their field involving greater attention to contemporary IPE scholarship from beyond the regions of Europe and North America.

18 October 2018 by
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Greening the State for a Sustainable Political Economy | New NPE Special Section published

Dr Martin Craig (Research Associate, SPERI) has published a new special section in New Political Economy. The section includes contributions from Robyn Eckersley, John Barry, Dan Bailey and Martin Craig.

The papers in the special section – which is entitled Greening the State For a Sustainable Political Economy – all approach the question of the state and its relationship to ecological crisis from a political-economic perspective. They ask how state responses to ecological crisis are shaped and constrained by the broader capitalist political economies in which they are located.

A short article by Martin Craig introduces the four contributions to the special section and situates them in the contemporary research literature.

The papers were developed from a workshop organised by Martin Craig – Towards an Ecological Political Economy of Contemporary Capitalism – which was jointly hosted by SPERI and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures in 2016.

The papers included in the special section are

Greening the State for a Sustainable Political Economy

Martin P. A. Craig 

Re-thinking the Fiscal and Monetary Political Economy of the Green State

Dan Bailey is a post-doctoral research fellow at the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester

‘Treasury Control’ and the British Environmental State: The Political Economy of Green Development Strategy in UK Central Government

Martin P. A. Craig 

A Genealogy of Economic Growth as Ideology and Cold War Core State Imperative

John Barry is Professor of Green Political Economy at Queen’s University Belfast.

The Green State in Transition: Reply to Bailey, Barry and Craig

Robyn Eckersley is a Professor of Political Science in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne

18 October 2018 by
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International news coverage for new SPERI paper on the UK Finance Curse

A new SPERI report that assesses the cost of ‘too much finance’ for the UK from the 1990s to the current period has received international news coverage since its publication earlier this month.

The UK’s Finance Curse? Costs and Processes by Andrew Baker, Gerald Epstein and Juan Montecino has been covered extensively in Le Monde, The Guardian, Financial Times and The Independent amongst others.

The coverage includes:

The finance curse: how the outsized power of the City of London makes Britain poorer

The Guardian – long read article by Nick Shaxson

UK economy lost out on £4.5 trillion because of ‘too much finance’, study finds

The Independent – report by Ben Chapman

“La malédiction de la finance” étouffe l’économie (“The curse of finance” stifles the economy)

Le Monde – report by Eric Albert

Brexit offers London’s rivals a poisoned chalice

Financial Times –  op-ed article by Nick Shaxson (£)

The paper suggests that the total cost of lost growth potential for the UK caused by ‘too much finance’ between 1995 and 2015 is in the region of £4,500 billion. This total figure amounts to roughly 2.5 years of the average GDP across the period.

More information about the report can be found here.

17 October 2018 by
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New SPERI report: The UK’s Finance Curse? Costs and Processes

A new SPERI report assesses the cost of ‘too much finance’ for the UK from the 1990s to the current period.

The UK’s Finance Curse? Costs and Processes suggests that the total cost of lost growth potential for the UK caused by ‘too much finance’ between 1995 and 2015 is in the region of £4,500 billion. This total figure amounts to roughly 2.5 years of the average GDP across the period.

The report provides the first ever numerical estimate for the scale of damage caused by the UK’s finance sector growing beyond a useful size. Of the £4,500 billion loss in economic output, £2,700 billion is accounted for by the misallocation of resources where resources, skills and investments are diverted away from more productive non-financial activities into finance. The other £1,800 billion arises from the 2008 banking crisis.

The report is by Professor Andrew Baker, Professorial Fellow in Political Economy in SPERI and the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield; Professor Gerald Epstein, Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Dr Juan Montecino, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Columbia.

Professor Andrew Baker said: “The ‘too much finance’ problem has been identified in previous studies. For the UK, the numbers are powerful and hint at a deep underlying problem of misallocation, and ‘crowding out.’  UK economic strategy in a post-Brexit world, needs to make addressing this the central challenge, recognising that where finance is concerned, more can sometimes be less, and less could be more.”

The data in the report suggests that the UK economy, may have performed much better in overall growth terms if: (a) its financial sector was smaller; (b) if finance was more focused on supporting other areas of the economy, rather than trying to act as a source of wealth generation (extraction) in its own right.

This evidence also provides support for the idea that the UK suffers from a form of ‘finance curse’: a development trajectory of financial over dependence involving a crowding out of other sectors and a skewing of social relations, geography and politics.

The authors call for a focused and systematic interdisciplinary research agenda using the finance curse framing to further dig behind the numbers presented in the report. They argue that the report’s findings and ideas should mark the start of a process of more carefully debating and considering the potential social and economic costs of excessive finance in the UK and should be of both interest to researchers and of concern to policy makers. Appendices to accompany the report have also been published.

Download: The UK’s Finance Curse? Costs and Processes

Download:  Appendices: The UK’s Finance Curse: Costs and Processes

5 October 2018 by
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Alternatives to the Annual Tax Summary: New SPERI report explores how government could communicate tax differently

A new SPERI report proposes how the government could communicate differently to citizens about how it spends the tax they pay.

Dr Liam Stanley, Lecturer in the Department of Politics and Associate Fellow of SPERI, and Dr Rebecca Bramall, Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, examined the government’s Annual Tax Summary – a document which provides UK taxpayers with a breakdown of how their Income Tax and National Insurance contributions are spent.

The summaries attracted controversy when they were first issued in 2014, when the then Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government was accused of manipulating welfare spending information to stoke anti-benefits sentiment in the context of austerity cuts. The policy was defended by the government as a way of increasing transparency.

The new report ‘Communicating Tax: exploring alternatives to the UK government’s Annual Tax Summaryexplores how such information could be communicated differently and presents recommendations through an alternative to the Annual Tax Summary.

The report will be launched at a public event this evening in London (October 4th) featuring a panel discussion involving tax campaigners and communications experts. Places can be booked here.

Dr Stanley said: “Tax is the lifeblood of society. It funds public services and contributes to the formation of citizen identities and solidarities. While public opinion continues to favour the payment of taxes, this support is jeopardised by prominent figures and organisations who advocate for a low tax society.

“A better understanding of the role of communications in shaping people’s attitudes towards taxation will enhance the work of individuals and organisations who strive to counter anti-tax sentiment and to foster public confidence in the tax system.”

The report draws attention to the political interests that inform fiscal transparency initiatives such as the Annual Tax Summary, and challenges common sense confidence in data visualisation as a tool for delivering transparency. It questions forms of communication that monetise and individualise taxpayers’ contribution to public spending, and that set certain groups of people in tension with each other.

The report offer recommendations for communicators who seek to champion the role of tax in society. It recommends that tax communicators should:

  • Challenge the perceived neutrality of tax transparency. Tax communicators should seek to identify accessible forms of communication that promote openness and accountability while challenging the logic of public sector inefficiency that transparency initiatives often serve.
  • Adopt a non-monetised framework of value. Tax communicators should express the value of tax in terms of the common good and what government spending does for society, rather than what it costs the individual.
  • Promote inclusive taxpaying identities, and avoid forms of communication that set certain groups (such as ‘taxpayers’ and ‘non-taxpayers’) in tension with each other.
  • Assert the interpretive status of data visualisation, by encouraging people to regard data visualisation as an interpretation of data rather than a statement of fact.

Dr Stanley and Dr Bramall tested their recommendations through the development of a design intervention called the Ministry of Tax (www.ministryoftax.uk) which presents an alternative to the Annual Tax Summary.

Users can enter their salary to see different and surprising data on public spending, including deeper scrutiny of the much-debated ‘welfare’ category of spending – drawing attention to the political decisions that are made when diverse elements of government spending are grouped under this category.

Dr Stanley said: “The Ministry of Tax doesn’t represent a definitive alternative to the Annual Tax Summary, but it does illustrate how some of the recommendations of our report might be applied.”

Dr Bramall added: “The report is intended to contribute to a broader emergent debate about communication, culture and the economy. Academics, artists, professional stakeholders, and campaigners can all play an important role, and we advocate more sustained collaboration and knowledge transfer between these areas of expertise. We hope that this report will enhance and sustain this debate, and that our recommendations will be of value to individuals and organisations who seek to champion the role of tax in society.”

Download the report: Communicating Tax: Exploring alternatives to the UK government’s Annual Tax Summary

4 October 2018 by
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Jacqueline Best to join SPERI in 2019 as Leverhulme Visiting Professor

We are very pleased to announce that Professor Jacqueline Best will be joining SPERI as a Leverhulme Visiting Professor between January-April 2019.

Jacqueline is a Professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. She is an internationally-renowned scholar in the fields of international political economy, global governance and international relations theory. She is an editor of the Review of International Political Economy (RIPE) journal and since 2015 she has been an Honorary Research Fellow at SPERI.

Her research interests are centred around the political and social underpinning of political economy, with a focus on international financial governance. Her work is characterised by cultural, constructivist and practice-based approaches to the study of the political economy. Throughout her career, Jacqueline’s work has focused on the ways in which economic ideas and practices do not always work the way that we expect—because of ambiguities, limits, failures and exceptions.

In recent years, her research has examined both the dramatic and mundane forms that ‘economic exceptionalism’ takes in liberal democratic societies. She is also currently engaged in a historical investigation of the political and practical challenges involved in the first attempts to put neoliberal theories into practice, examining the early years of the Reagan and Thatcher governments.

Her books include The Limits of Transparency: Ambiguity and the History of International Governance (Cornell University Press, 2005), Cultural Political Economy (Routledge, 2010), The Return of the Public in Global Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and Governing Failure: Provisional Expertise and the Transformation of Global Development Finance (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

While at SPERI Jacqueline will collaborate with SPERI researchers on a project that will explore ‘post-neoliberalism’ and the theoretical, empirical and methodological challenges associated with it. Her work will re-examine contemporary neoliberalism in light of events such as Brexit, the rise of Trump and international trade wars. It will address questions of what this means for both our historical understanding of the character of neoliberalism, and for the future of liberalism, neoliberalism and global governance.

Jacqueline will give a Leverhulme Lecture on February 6th at SPERI on Neoliberalism, Illiberalism and the Dangers of Wishful Economic Thinking. Please look out for more information about the lecture and how you can attend, and about other events that Jacqueline will contribute to during the course of her visit. Jacqueline will also as contribute to taught undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the Department of Politics.

27 September 2018 by
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Michael Jacobs joins SPERI

SPERI is delighted to announce the appointment of Michael Jacobs as a new Professorial Research Fellow at SPERI and the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield.

Michael is an economist with expertise in international political economy, climate change and energy policy, and social democratic and green political thought. He joins SPERI from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) where he was Director of the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice. He is the lead author and editor of the Commission’s final report, Prosperity and Justice: A Plan for the New Economy published in September 2018.

Michael has been a visiting professor in the School of Public Policy at University College London and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE and was earlier a research fellow at Lancaster University and the LSE. Michael was Co-Editor of The Political Quarterly from 2012-14 and remains a member of its editorial board.

From 2004–2010 Michael was a Special Adviser to former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, first as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers at the Treasury, and subsequently at 10 Downing St, where he had responsibility for energy, environment and climate policy. From 2010–2015 he advised governments and others on international climate change strategy in the run-up to the UN Climate Conference in Paris in December 2015. From 1997-2003 he was head of the think tank and political association the Fabian Society.

Michael’s books include The Green Economy: Environment, Sustainable Development and the Politics of the Future (Pluto Press, 1991), Greening the Millennium? The New Politics of the Environment (ed, Blackwell, 1997), The Politics of the Real World (Earthscan, 1996) and Paying for Progress: A New Politics of Tax for Public Spending (Fabian Society, 2000). His latest book Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth (edited with Mariana Mazzucato) was published in 2016.

Michael will take up his new post at SPERI in October 2018.

25 September 2018 by
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Can communication and design change how we perceive tax? | NEW SPERI public event

On Thursday 4th October join SPERI for a special event in London as we discuss the role that communications and design can play in shaping people’s attitudes to tax.

The event will celebrate the launch of ‘Communicating Tax: Exploring alternatives to the UK government’s Annual Tax Summary’, a new report by Liam Stanley (SPERI, University of Sheffield) and Rebecca Bramall (London College of Communication, UAL) that will be published on October 4th. The report is the culmination of a research project that has explored alternative ways of reporting on and communicating about tax and public spending (find out more about the project here)

A short presentation about the research will precede a panel discussion involving tax campaigners and communications experts, and there will also be an opportunity to view The Ministry of Tax, an exhibit presenting an alternative tax summary developed by designers from the project team.

Speakers include

  • Jonathan Gray, Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies, King’s College London
  • Ellie Mae O’Hagan, journalist
  • Robert Palmer, Executive Director, Tax Justice UK

Tickets for the event are free. Register your place here

19 September 2018 by
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SPERI’s new Political Economy Seminar Series – 2018/19 details announced

We are delighted to announce details of our new Political Economy Seminar Series, organised jointly with the Political Economy Research Group in the Department of Politics.

The monthly seminars are for researchers at the University of Sheffield who have an interest in political economy. For more information about please contact the series organisers Professor Genevieve LeBaron and Dr Liam Stanley

2018

September 19
CONTENTIOUS NATURAL RESOURCE POLITICS AND THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF COMMUNITY-BASED LICENSING
Jonathan Gamu, University of Sheffield
&
QUEER ACTIVISM AND THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF DEVELOPMENT
Ellie Gore, University of Sheffield

October 15
FINANCIALIZATION AND THE FUTURE OF FOOD
Jennifer Clapp, University of Waterloo
A joint event with University of Sheffield Sustainable Food Futures (SheFF)

October 16
GLOBALIZING THE HISTORICAL ROOTS OF IPE
Eric Helleiner, University of Waterloo

November 14
HOPE FOR REFORM: STRENGTHENING CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY IN GLOBAL PRODUCTION NETWORKS
Alice Evans, King’s College London

December 12
FEMINIST POLITICAL ECONOMY OF THE WEINSTEIN SCANDAL
PREPPE researchers (Postgraduate Research Experience Programme in Political Economy), University of Sheffield

2019

January 16
THE STRUGGLE FOR DEVELOPMENT
Benjamin Selwyn, University of Sussex

February 6
NEOLIBERALISM, ILLIBERALISM AND THE DANGERS OF WISHFUL ECONOMIC THINKING – A LEVERHULME LECTURE
Jacqueline Best, University of Ottowa
A joint event with The Leverhulme Trust

March 13
PANEL : DOES PROTECTIONISM = NATIVISM?
Grace Blakeley (IPPR), Graham Harrison and Owen Parker (University of Sheffield
A joint event with the Border Seminar Series

March 27
Title to be confirmed
Noel Castree, University of Manchester
A joint event with the Environmental Politics Group

May 1
ON POSTNEOLIBERALISM
Will Davies, Goldsmiths

June 5
HOW THE NUMBERS LENS OF ECONOMIC STATISTICS SKEWS GLOBAL POLITICS
Daniel Mügge, University of Amsterdam

18 September 2018 by
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SPERI doctoral researcher attends UNCTAD Summer School in Geneva

SPERI doctoral researcher Patrick Kaczmarczyk attended the first summer school organised by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva between 3-7th September.

UNCTAD’s mandate is to promote an equitable participation of developing countries in international commerce and finance. The summer school brought academics and policymakers together to discuss the detrimental implications of the current monetary and financial regime for developing countries and to explore new and inter-disciplinary approaches to address recurring problems.

The speakers included UNCTAD officials such as Richard Kozul-Wright (Director of UNCTAD’s division on Globalization and Development Strategies), Stephanie Blankenburg (Head of the Debt and Development Finance Branch), Dusan Zivkovic (senior economics affairs officer), as well as a range of academics including Rui Esteves (Graduate Institute Geneva), Daniela Gabor (University of Bristol), and Gary Dymski (University of Leeds). The sessions led by senior UNCTAD staff and academics were complemented by young scholars who presented their research.

More information about the summer school can be found at http://debt-and-finance.unctad.org/Pages/UNCTAD-Summer-School-2018.aspx

12 September 2018 by
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Professor David Coates (1946-2018)

It is with great sadness that we must report that Professor David Coates passed away yesterday after a short illness.  He was 71 years old.

David had held the Worrell Chair in Anglo-American Studies at Wake Forest University in North Carolina since 1999, having previously been a professor at the Universities of Leeds and Manchester.  His work on British and American politics and political economy has been voluminous over a period of many years and is set out in full on his website at www.davidcoates.net/

David was a great friend of SPERI.  He blogged regularly on SPERI Comment and attended several SPERI conferences and workshops.  He also drew on SPERI research in much of his later writing.  His last visit to SPERI took place on 14 May this year when he spoke engagingly and optimistically about the challenges facing progressive politics at the launch of his latest major study, entitled Flawed Capitalism: The Anglo-American Condition and its Resolution (Agenda Publishing: Newcastle upon Tyne, 2018).

Our sincerest condolences go to his wife, Eileen, and all the members of his Anglo-American family.

8 August 2018 by
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NEW EVENT: World Food Day Keynote Lecture by Professor Jennifer Clapp

On Tuesday 16 October 2018 – World Food Day – the University of Sheffield Sustainable Food Futures (SheFF) group, SPERI and the Department of Politics are delighted to be co-hosting a Keynote Lecture by the world-leading esteemed food, environment and International Relations scholar Professor Jennifer Clapp (School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability, University of Waterloo, Canada). The lecture is free to attend and open to the public.

Click here to register your place

‘Power, Politics and Justice in the World Food Economy’ – Professor Jennifer Clapp

Recent mergers among some of the world’s largest agrifood companies underline the extent to which just a handful of giant firms have come to dominate the global food system. As the power of transnational agrifood corporations has grown, debates have intensified over what it means for efforts to promote more just and sustainable food systems around the world.

This lecture explores how corporate power in the global food system is being expressed in new ways, its implications for world food security and sustainability, and the politics of reshaping global food governance in response.

Jennifer Clapp is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability. Her research focuses on global governance issues at the intersection of food security, the global economy, and the environment.

Date: Tuesday 16 October

Location: The Diamond, Lecture Theatre 2

Time: 5.00-7.00pm

The keynote lecture will be followed by audience discussion and a drinks reception from 6.30pm in The Diamond foyer.

Register your place

6 August 2018 by
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British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowships – call for applications   

The British Academy has announced details of their Postdoctoral Fellowships scheme. The Fellowships are a three-year award made to an annual cohort of outstanding early career researchers.

We would like to invite applications from talented researchers working in political economy to apply to the scheme in order to join our research community at SPERI in 2019.

If you would like to apply for a Fellowship to be based at SPERI please send a two-page CV and a one-page research proposal for the Fellowship to SPERI’s co-directors Colin Hay, Genevieve LeBaron and Adam Leaver by August 31st 2018. The co-directors will then decide whether to put forward applicants for the scheme from SPERI.

Full details of the scheme can be found at https://www.britac.ac.uk/british-academy-postdoctoral-fellowships

Outline Stage 2018-19

  • Scheme Opens – 22 August 2018
  • Deadline for Applicants (incl. Referee Statement & Organisation Approval) – 17 October 2018
  • Result of Outline Stage Announcement – January 2019

Second Stage 2018-19

  • Scheme Opens – 23 January 2019
  • Deadline for Applicants 20 February 2019
  • Result of Second Stage Announcement – End of May 2019

Eligibility

  • Applicants must be supported by the UK host institution in which they wish to hold the Fellowship
  • Applicants must be within three years of the award of a doctorate (this means being awarded via a viva voce examination between 1 April 2016 and 1st April 2019).
  • Applicants in the 2018-19 competition awarded a PhD before 1 April 2016 can apply given extentuating circumstances, such as through illness or parental/care giving duties. Any potential exemptions should be discussed with the Research Funding Team.
  • Applicants must be either a UK/EEA national, or have completed a doctorate at a UK university. Applicants who do not fall into one of these categories must demonstrate a ‘strong prior association’ with the UK academic community. This is typically gained through having been employed in a temporary capacity at a UK university for at least 12 months.

6 August 2018 by
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New vacancy: Professorial Research Fellow at SPERI

SPERI is seeking to appoint a new Professorial Research Fellow to join our team. Full details about the new job can be found here.

Overview

We are seeking candidates with an outstanding research profile and a track record of influencing think tanks and government policy making.

The Fellowship will commence in September 2018 and runs to 31 January 2021. During the period of your fellowship you will focus exclusively on developing SPERI’s research profile through development of an innovative research agenda, substantially contributing to the development of SPERI as a leading international institute in the study of political economy, pursuing opportunities for high profile external grants, producing an array of high quality publications and demonstrating the impact of your research through engagement with think tanks and policy makers.

We will look to provide you with opportunities to apply your experience and skills, through the leadership of a research theme and wider leadership role.

Closing date for applications: 30th July 2018

For informal enquiries about this job please contact SPERI co-director Professor Adam Leaver on a.leaver@sheffield.ac.uk

Applications are made through the University of Sheffield’s online jobs portal

11 July 2018 by
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SPERI launches new postgraduate research programme on the political economy of the Weinstein scandal

SPERI has launched a new postgraduate research programme that will focus on the political economy of the Weinstein scandal.

PREPPE – the Postgraduate Research Experience Programme in Political Economy – offers opportunities for students on the SPERI-affiliated MA in Global Political Economy to participate in a new research project, in the context of an on-going commitment to research-led learning.

The scheme, which will run between June –September 2018, presents a unique opportunity for students to work with academics at SPERI to co-produce and contribute to a political economy research project

This year the PREPPE project will focus on the political economy of the Weinstein scandal — the exposure of systematic sexual harassment and assault by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein which gave rise to the #MeToo movement and a vital public dialogue about sexual and gender politics.

The project is led by Dr. Liam Stanley, Dr. Ellie Gore, and Prof. Genevieve LeBaron. The small team of MA students involved in the project will work with Liam, Ellie and Genevieve with the goal of co-authoring publications that will lead to a peer-reviewed academic journal.

28 June 2018 by
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Localising pension fund investments – new SPERI report published today

SPERI today publishes a new report by Dr Craig Berry (Reader at Manchester Metropolitan University) which explores the prospect of UK pension funds localising their investment strategies. The report ‘Localising pension fund investments; Engaging with stakeholders, overcoming the barriers’ is the culmination of a project, funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, UK policy-makers have looked to pension funds to contribute to an investment-led economic recovery. However, there have been few substantive policy changes to support this agenda, and little attention has been given to the prospect of pension funds localising their investment strategies. The project investigated the reasons behind this and explored the potential for local authority pension funds and private sector pension funds to contribute to localisation in investment practice. Dr Craig Berry, Tom Hunt and Dr Adam Barber worked on the SPERI project which you can read more about here.

The project findings are drawn from new SPERI research and from a series of seminars held in late 2017 and 2018 with stakeholders and experts in three English city-regions: Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham. Participants included local government officials, economists, local business and civil society leaders, and finance and investment professionals (including pensions industry representatives).

Download the report

The project report makes a range of suggestions for policy and practice.

Central government:

  • A genuine, place-based public investment programme should be established by the Treasury, which pension funds can cohere around.
  • Greater thought is required, by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, about the implications of pooling for locally-oriented investment strategies among local authority pension funds.
  • Both departments need to consider whether metro-mayors have sufficient powers and capacity to contribute to the localisation agenda, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy needs to consider whether the British Business Bank could engage systematically with pension funds.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions needs to ensure that pensions regulation (such as valuation cycles) does not discourage local investments, reconsider whether the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) can further localise its investment strategy, and explore how the barriers to collective defined contribution provision can be overcome.

Local government:

  • There is scope for metro-mayors and combined authorities to think more strategically about the operation of local authority pension funds. Mayors should also be looking to mediate between private sector pension funds and potential investees in the local economy, and if necessary push for greater devolution of fiscal powers to fulfil this function effectively.

Large employers:

  • Large employers need to take their role as local anchor institutions seriously – and this role should be reflected in their pensions practice. They should also seek to survey members more extensively on investment preferences – an initiative NEST could also undertake.
  • More generally, all relevant stakeholders (including trade unions) should consider whether local investment strategies might be best realised away from the formal processes of pensions saving.

The project also suggests that priorities for further research in this area include:

  • Developing a ‘census’ of the pensions capital created in the private sector across different localities and regions, and how it tends to be invested.
  • Understanding the investment strategies of large defined contribution scheme providers.
  • It will be vital also to explore the capacity of local authorities to engage with private sector pension funds.

The project benefited hugely from partnerships with the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Local Authority Pension Funds and Birmingham City Council.

Sadly, Kieran Quinn (then leader of Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council and Chair of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund) died during the course of this project. This report is dedicated to Kieran, and his pioneering work on pension fund investments in Greater Manchester. A short article about Kieran’s work by Andy Rowe can be found below.

BUILD THE FUTURE

Andy Rowe. Former Project Manager to Cllr Kieran Quinn as Chair of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, and Leader of Tameside Council

I worked with Kieran Quinn for the last two years on developing a strategy to promote the work of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) and the pooling of pension funds in the North West, and wider across the UK. The former Chancellor George Osborne created a platform for UK Pension Funds to ‘pool’ their investment funds for possible infrastructure works and to work together.

Kieran and I discussed future plans for funds to play a much more active and visible role in infrastructure development on affordable housing and rail in the UK. He was a man of vision and lots of intellect. He thought through his project steps and he had many new ideas for outcomes and delivery.

There is nothing new in pension funds investing in infrastructure as the Australian, Canadian and American funds have demonstrated over the past 30 years, greatly benefiting the beneficiaries of these funds. Ranging from roads, bridges, schools, rail and station hubs the scope and scale of infrastructure opportunities are wide.

GLIL was one of the first infrastructure vehicle partnerships, established by the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) and GMPF in 2015. It arose from a conversation between Sir Merrick Cockell, Chair of the LPFA, and Kieran where both funds agreed to put in £500M each, which attracted other pension funds as the development progressed.

The fund has invested in infrastructure including a wind farm in Ayrshire, and the purchase of trains for Abellio.

Kieran’s philosophy included a social weave in the fund’s developments, not only to invest, and return a profit for the pensioners within the fund, but also to do some local and social good.

This could be manifested by local employment and training for apprentices on construction sites working on the fund’s projects. Kieran was seeking to draft a Construction Charter working with the trade unions to underpin this. As part of this thinking I researched and worked with the unions to jointly develop a Construction Charter that would uphold both the fund’s financial returns and benefit the workers on the sites.

Affordable housing was one of Kieran’s big projects. Having developed a working financial model (Matrix Homes) and built multiple plots of affordable homes for local people across Manchester in partnership with the Council, the Matrix model was ready to showcase to other Funds to build more affordable homes across the North West and Yorkshire. The model was flexible to adjust the financial model to suit different funds and councils and was ready to scale up with more partners.

Kieran was keen to get involved in infrastructure on rail and he had started a conversation on future rail and investment to utilise new technologies by talking to partners in Liverpool and Leeds.

Creating viable employment, investment in youth training and building the fund was all part of the strategic and promising reach he offered. Above all creating viable partnerships with other pension funds and working with the private sector as partners was the legacy that Kieran leaves behind.

*Disclaimer I do not now work for GMPF, or have any connection to their current strategy now, or in the future.

28 June 2018 by
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